Melbourne City winger Andrew Nabbout is set to miss out on the Socceroos' World Cup qualifiers and is in doubt for the rest of the A-League season after tearing an abductor tendon.
Nabbout was injured while attempting a pass during runaway leader City's win over Adelaide United on Thursday and had to be assisted off the field in significant distress.
"We can confirm that winger Andrew Nabbout suffered a tear to the adductor tendon in his left thigh during last night's 4-1 win over Adelaide United," City said in a statement.
"We are unsure if he will be able to play any further part in the remainder of the season and will provide an update in the weeks ahead.
"He is a tough character and we know how hard he will work to come back even stronger."
Nabbout missed five games early in the season with a hamstring injury and last week's win over Perth with a groin issue but had otherwise been in scintillating form.
The fringe Socceroo was widely tipped to feature in Graham Arnold's squad, to be named next week, for June's World Cup qualifiers in Kuwait.
Nabbout's injury will likely see more game time for former Sydney FC forward Marco Tilio at City who are 11 points clear on top.
Meanwhil, City's crosstown rivals Western United face a must-win clash with Sydney FC in Ballarat on Saturday afternoon.
United return to Victoria after conceding 10 goals across a gruelling three-game road trip to Brisbane, Sydney then Perth.
The three consecutive losses leave them three points short of sixth place.
"A point's not good enough -- not right now," coach Mark Rudan said.
"It's about three points. It's a mini cup final for us as far as we're concerned."
Sydney FC can stay in the mix for a top-two finish with a win and will be bolstered by the return of Adam Le Fondre, featuring for the first time since completing hotel quarantine, and Luke Brattan's return from suspension.
On Saturday night, second-placed Central Coast aim to return to winning ways in their derby against bottom-placed rivals Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Mariners are winless in six games but will regain Marco Urena from suspension against their fierce rivals, who are winless in 12.
"The boys are loving it - the pressure that comes with it and the performances you need to provide in order to keep in the finals," Mariners midfielder Josh Nisbet said.
"With it being so tight, we know we need to perform."
The Jets are set to be bolstered by Ramy Najjarine and Johnny Koutroumbis' return from injury.